We’re about halfway through Advent…………

Sunday is Gaudete (Rejoice) Sunday, one of two times in the liturgical year that we wear rose-colored vestments. Do you know when the other time is?

We will light the third (rose-colored) candle on our Advent wreath.

On Gaudete Sunday, the season of Advent shifts its focus. For the first two weeks of Advent, the focus can be summed up in the phrase, “The Lord is coming.” But beginning with Gaudete Sunday, the summary might be,

“The Lord is near.”

This shift is marked by a lighter mood and a heightened sense of joyous anticipation. In times when the focus of our anticipation is often on the negative and fearful, this celebration is a reminder that God who loves us is still in charge and that we await his coming not with fear, but with tremendous joy.

Hopefully your Advent preparations have been as enlightening and fruitful as mine have been. Between the reflections available from Bishop Robert Barron http://adventreflections.com/sign-up-advent and Dynamic Catholic (my favorite – they make you think and challenge you) http://dynamiccatholic.com/best-advent-ever/ and LPi http://go.4lpi.com/2016AdventReflections-SignUp.html , I wake up every morning looking for them in my inbox anxious to see what challenges and insight they have for me every day. If you haven’t started yet, there is no time like the present, as we wait in hopeful expectation and anticipation, make some time to prepare for the anniversary of Christ’s birth – Christmas. Don’t wait until you have some time; make some time, if you wait it will likely never come, put a reminder or appointment on your calendar if you need to. After all, you probably schedule time for so many other people and activities in your lives, why not schedule some time to spend with God in preparation for the remembrance of the birth of his only begotten son – Jesus.

For our family it has been a season of new and renewed traditions, I think those family traditions are as important as the other preparations. It has been great this year to share old traditions and start new traditions with our son and new daughter in law recently married and relocated back to the area; as well as our other son who is home for his second Christmas since returning from his 4 years of active duty in the Marine Corps; if our other son were here for it all, it would be perfect, but gotta do what you gotta do Eric, exams will be over and you’ll be home for the festivities soon enough. I hope and pray that all of you have been as blessed as we have. Even in these trying times that we live in, we have so much to be thankful for.

Stop, listen, reflect, pray, and give thanks to God for all the blessings he has bestowed on us. God Bless you and your families this Advent season.